Last week we reported that a Chinese state-run TV station was quick to call the iPhone a security threat on account of the device's "frequent locations" feature first introduced in iOS 7.
In typical hyperbolic fashion, the Chinese media outlet called the iPhone a "national security concern" insofar as it could be compromised and subsequently help someone gain access to "state secrets" and economic data which could then be used for nefarious ends.
In the wake of this report, Apple responded with post on its China website rebutting claims that iOS poses a security risk. The post is available in both Chinese and English and works to stress Apple's commitment to privacy.
The post reads in part:
We appreciate CCTV's effort to help educate customers on a topic we think is very important. We want to make sure all of our customers in China are clear about what we do and we don't do when it comes to privacy and your personal data.
Our customers want and expect their mobile devices to be able to quickly and reliably determine their current locations for specific activities such as shopping, travel, finding the nearest restaurant or calculating the amount of time it takes them to get to work. We do this at the device level. Apple does not track users' locations – Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.
Apple does not have access to Frequent Locations or the location cache on any user's iPhone at any time. We encrypt the cache by the user's passcode and it is protected from access by any app. In the interest of even greater transparency for our customers, if a user enters their passcode successfully, they are able to see the data collected on their device. Once the device is locked no one is able to view that information without entering the passcode.
As we have stated before, Apple has never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services. We have also never allowed access to our servers. And we never will. It's something we feel very strongly about.